With the recent arrival for the first time of fabled Italian producer Giuseppe Quintarelli’s wines and our annual tradition tasting our full line-up from DRC, the past 6 weeks have reminded me how much effort Beltramo’s has focused on making rare wines available to our customers. I’ve said dozens of times that “our needs are simple: we want the best from everywhere,” and often first-time customers are astounded (in a good way) to see what we have available.
Like all “overnight” success stories, this was years of diligent work, nurturing relationships with wineries, importers and wholesalers to create the candy store for adults that we hope our selection is for you. What our Rarities have in common is first and foremost high quality, these wines come from producers who are meticulous in their work, both in the vineyard and the winery. They are also mostly small production, tending 50+ acres meticulously would require a small army of assistants or relations with growers as demanding as yourself. This combination gives full bloom to basic economic supply and demand, making them a challenge for consumers to acquire.
When I started working here 15 years ago, Silver Oak was an allocated item. We would receive ten cases of the Napa Valley bottling and dole it out 3 or 4 bottles at a time. Now we usually have either the Alexander Valley or Napa bottling “stacked” and regularly have Magnums, 3 Liters and even 6 Liters. Opus One, Araujo and Dalla Valle were part of our allocation process then as well, and we still carry them now with the only restriction being the quantity we have on hand. The list of other formerly allocated Domestic wines that are now on the shelves includes Dunn, Heitz Martha’s, Dominus, Leonetti, Lewis Reserve, and Spottswoode. There are new producers to chase of course, and we’ve started the trickle with Scarecrow, Hundred Acre and Harlan while waiting for an avenue to open on Schrader. And those are just the Cabernets, with the explosion in popularity of Pinot Noir we’ve worked to put Anthill Farms, Beaux Freres, DuMol, En Route, Peay and others on the shelves while trying to increase quantities on Dehlinger, Rochioli and Williams Selyem. All these wines are small-production and high-quality, delicious now and cellar-worthy, and representations of what keeps us passionate about wine and keeps us working hard to make them available to you.
The blueprint for this work was established in our Italian & Burgundy sections, culminating in a makeover of how these sections are displayed in-store, with maps that are helpful to all. Quintarelli is at home just down the aisle from Gaja, Vietti’s “Villero”, Giacomo Conterno and long-running Super-Tuscans Tignanello, Ornellaia, and Sassicaia. Our 200+ selections from Burgundy, laid out as they are at home in France again with maps showing where all these different crus come from, represent 15 years of attention that allow us to put Bernard Moreau, Henri Boillot, Comte Armand, Chevillon, Meo-Camuzet, Cathiard, Dujac ,and Dugat-Py on the shelf while keeping the smaller quantities of Leflaive, Comte de Vogue, and Rousseau cooling upstairs. The grand-daddy of Burgundy rarities (although production is not as small as some) is Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and although 2010 was a small crop, by bending some of our rules we were able to keep up our tradition of tasting all the wines produced by the DRC.
Venturing north from Burgundy you’ll find Krug “Clos de Mesnil”, Salon, and Cristal Rosé and if you head south instead, Clos des Papes, Beaucastel’s “Hommage a Jacques Perrin” and Guigal’s La La Las. Southwest to Bordeaux brings the First Growths, Ausone, Petrus and d’Yquem while East into Germany puts you in touch with Donnhoff, Trockenbeerenausleses and Spatburgunders from Furst and Dr. Heger.
Our work to make these, and Rarities you haven’t heard of yet, available to you will continue because there are more high-quality, small-production wines being produced everywhere and there are more wine consumers every day seeking Rarities.
Matt S., Beltramo’s Operations Manager